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Saucier

Best BBQ joint in KC MO. ?

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I am fixin to travel next week, and will be in KC MO. next Thursday, staying there for one night, one night only, and want to try some good KC bbq, anybody from around that area that has any information?  I would appreciate it!!!

 

Warren

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Barbecue means different things to different people. If you're looking for a lone guy who'll show us a trick or two, he'll be roadside sixty miles out of town. The most famous KC bbq (when I was there long ago) is a local chain that keeps McDonalds at bay. Different purposes, but good grub.

Edit: Joe's, in Troble's post below, is where I believe I ate.

Edited by Syzygies
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I was going out to KC once a quarter for work for about 18 months and got taken to many of the best BBQ joints by locals. Most locals swear by Joe’s which was great but I preferred Q39 personally. Here’s a decent list to get you started 

https://www.travelchannel.com/interests/food-and-drink/kansas-city-bbq--6-top-picks-you-wont-want-to-miss

heres another solid list 

https://www.kansascitymag.com/the-10-best-kansas-city-bbq-spots-we-ate-at-50-plus-spots-to-pick-em/

Edited by Troble
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Wow! All these choices is making it tough (no pun intended) They all sound so good...   I was once on the road in Atlanta, and 7 of 10 people on the street I asked pointed me towards Woods Family BBQ.. OH MAN! I was there for a week, and went twice.. so popular, they hire APD officers to direct traffic in the parking lot on Sunday afternoons... LOL... 

Thanks all!!

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@Saucier, having lived in KC for more than four decades, there have been a lot of great BBQ joints here over the years.

The originals are Arthur Bryants, Gates (still held in the family) and Rosedale. These three fought it out for the KC BBQ title for decades, are still standing and basically serving their original style of Kansas City BBQ. Bryant's for cayenne and vinegar-based sauce, Gates for a spicy tomato-based sauce and Rosedale for a sweet tomato-based sauce. If you want a true Kansas City experience, you would go to one of these.

Newer places, but still in the Kansas City tradition, are Jones, Big T's, R.J.'s Bob-Be-Que Shack, BB's Lawnside, Smokin' Guns, L.C.'s BBQ, Joe's Kansas City, and Wyandot Barbeque.

There are a bunch of newer, upscale restaurants like Q39, CharBar, Fiorella's Jack Stack (Martin City!), all of which serve very, very good smoked meat, fish, fowl, etc., and where I happily eat from time to time, but I wouldn't call them actual Kansas City BBQ. Jack Fiorella's father's BBQ joint, Smoke Stack BBQ was one of the greats but, sadly, no more. 

Once of @Troble's articles mentioned Harp Barbecue, a place I haven't yet been due to this past  pandemic year. It seems to be more Texas-Tennessee BBQ than Kansas City, but I appreciate his mention and homage to Henry Perry, the one true father of Kansas City BBQ. Here's a screen grab from a local television story last July 2 - Henry Perry Day - in Kansas City showing part of his original advertisement:

1785598899_HenryPerryBBQcrop.thumb.jpg.a24369c3f508c137da8396cc1cbad2a0.jpg

We probably won't see his like again anytime soon...  Seriously, any of the above places would be a great experience. It depends on what kind of BBQ experience you are seeking, only having one shot at it. Best wishes and good luck!

 

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WOW,, this is getting tougher! LOL.. before I thought of writing on this forum, I found there was a Gordon Ramsey restaurant in the Harrahs where I am staying and booked a table there, but heck I can get that in Vegas, as a BBQ nut, if I am going to be in KC... I am going to eat some KC BBQ, reservation at Gordy's cancelled !! LOL

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8 hours ago, Saucier said:

I am between Arthur Bryants, and Smokin Guns I think.... I want to try them all, but just one night!!! Its killing me !!   

Can you fit lunch into your schedule? Or eat at one and get something to go (takeout) from the other for the ride/flight home.

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The purpose of my trip, is geocaching.. If you are not familiar with it, geocaching is kind of an electronic treasure hunt carried out with computers, gps units, and compasses.. Lately smart phones cover most of it.

On of the goals is to find a cache hidden in each month, since may 2000. Finding later ones is no big deal, but the ones from the year of 2000 and some of them in 2001 are far and few between, as nobody even knew what it was back then. Add to that, people quit caching, pass away etc.  So I live in Arizona but I need once cache in Kc, Mo.. Another called Mingo, near Colby KS (oldest surviving cache) and there is going to be an event with around 2000 people in Colby KS to honor the 20th anniversary of that cache. (including me).

So I am flying out Thursday to  KC, have one night there, then driving to Colby on Friday to attend the event over the weekend. I am going by way of Wellsville KS, where my mom was born in 1922 at  the parsonage of the Wellsville KS First baptist church. I hope to stop by there on the way and see it, if I can get somebody to let me in.

All that to say, I will leave KC MO early on Friday, and be driving West, to complete my mission I have one in Colorado, and three in Utah, and my mission will be complete!!  Its called the Jasmer challenge....

If any of you are geocachers, my cache name is.  Cache__Monkeys. (with two underscores)

Now there is more information then you ever wanted!! )

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On 4/27/2021 at 6:40 PM, Syzygies said:

Barbecue means different things to different people. If you're looking for a lone guy who'll show us a trick or two, he'll be roadside sixty miles out of town. The most famous KC bbq [Joe's] (when I was there long ago) is a local chain that keeps McDonalds at bay. Different purposes, but good grub.

So, honestly, how good is commercial KC barbecue?

The best barbecue I've tasted in my life, including any made by myself or friends, or tasted at a competition, was a brisket in Elgin, Texas. I flew some back to New York, and friends who could afford to do so started ordering it shipped. (It was of course best fresh, on the spot.) The Legends of Texas Barbecue Cookbook is one of the most inspirational cookbooks on my barbecue bookshelf, more for thought patterns than recipes, and suggests this quality is widespread in Texas. Franklin Barbecue: A Meat-Smoking Manifesto has the best actionable advice of my books; I've never been there but I suspect the line is worth the wait. In my experience, a random town such as College Station doesn't come close to these standards, and yet Texas achieves standards that leaves the rest of the country behind.

I nearly became a professor at Duke, and during several visits I intensively explored the barbecue scene. I drove several hours to what was supposed to be the best barbecue in the state. Blocks away, I asked a wizened old guy sitting on the corner for directions. "Why would you want to go so far, when [pointing on the same block] is better?" I should have taken his advice. Commercially available North Carolina pulled pork was uniformly so bad that it taught me to abandon the apparent ropey standard in favor of a slightly less cooked but juicier version that can't hold for as many hours.

I'm not trying to dis commercial KC barbecue, I just fear that people most familiar with good home-cooked barbecue will be disappointed. The quality of barbecue that KC places can deliver at affordable scale is impressive. Working class locals appreciate this tradition, and these places can keep other kinds of popular restaurants at bay. Nevertheless, with the wrong expectations one will be disappointed.

When I visited India for a month, I went with the wrong expectations. At a Hyderabad conference, I was essentially a well-cared-for hostage, with few opportunities to try restaurants. (Mumbai is another story.) While no culinary moment blew me away, I came over a month's time to appreciate the rhythm of Indian food, something no cookbook can convey. KC barbecue is a part of life in KC, even if no culinary moment will blow you away. Go in with those expectations, hoping to come to understand the rhythm.

I would be thrilled to stand corrected, here.

I have met far more naturally talented cooks than I have become. I've worked hard for modest reward. At a far more talented scale, Bruce Springsteen should be a far better musician given the work he has put in. Also from my experience in research mathematics, I've come to understand and accept that life is like this.

In cooking, it is most effective to find ways to replace talent with reproducible technique. Sous vide is widely despised because it does this so effectively. I am known on this forum for the smoke pot, and the bread steam generator, two devices that reduce talent to technique. Many friends have told me that my barbecue is the best they've tasted in their lives. I'm certain that my barbecue is typical of much of our collective barbecue on this forum, and in a different league than most commercially available barbecue. This is because Dennis has made the ultimate contribution to reducing talent to technique: A Komodo Kamado really works.

 

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I think most "restaurant" food can be made better at home, if you study how to do it, and perfect your craft. However KC bbq, is a whole different style I am told, and I haven't experienced it. 

Like the place I mentioned in Atlanta, Woods Family BBQ, it was an experience. A couple next to ask, dressed in their Sunday best, and in typical GA hospitality, struck up an conversation with us, and when they found we hadn't eaten there before, gladly gave us the low down. They were eating a smoked short rib, looked the size of a small loaf of bread almost, really great bark and deep smoke flavor.. When you can taste smoke hours later, I am a fan.. They had a "side dish" where they took a small bag of Fritos, dumped in a scoop of Brunswick stew (chopped bbq) and a handful of cheese.   Simple but something I had never thought of. 

So regardless of the specific dish, I look forward to the entire experience, and perhaps as you say, the "rhythm".

I am going to research the books you mention as well.. thanks!

Warren

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@Syzygies i was fortunate enough to have an office in Austin for a few years and was flying out there every 2 weeks and I got to eat a lot of BBQ. I ate at Franklin's, Stubb's Salt Lick, Slab BBQ, La Barbecue. I like Franklin's brisket, but that is because I am a brisket man and prefer the salt & pepper rub. I have had Carolina BBQ and as mentioned earlier I've eaten KC BBQ a number of times and I have determined that for me I am a central TX BBQ like guy but that is mainly due to the fact that I like brisket best and I am not the biggest fan of sauce. KC is all about the ribs and I agree with you that there were some great tiny "hole in the wall" shack type places that I went to that I can't even remember the name of now that were always consistently good. So for me I like TX, KC and Carolina BBQ in that order, with the asterik that I have yet to make the pillgramage to eat at Rodney Scott's place

 

I do believe that some of the stuff us KK owners here cook on this forum is up there with the best of the best, however the one element that I am missing in my personal repetoiire is that I don't yet make my own kick ass BBQ sauce. It's one of my goals for 2021 to learn how to create my own "signature" BBQ sauce.

 

I always appreciate your tips @Syzygiesthank you for sharing so much of your knowledge. I will definitely look into the BBQ book you recommended above. 

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2 hours ago, Troble said:

The one element that I am missing in my personal repetoiire is that I don't yet make my own kick ass BBQ sauce. It's one of my goals for 2021 to learn how to create my own "signature" BBQ sauce.

Yes. Like @Troble said. I gave my electric guitar to a student because I couldn't reproduce the sounds in my head. I can't reproduce the BBQ sauce I can taste in my head, either.

On one hand I get lost in the middle, prepared foods, aisles of the supermarket, and I don't aspire to a gift for grabbing bottles and mixing them. I've long harbored the prejudice that sauce hides inferior meat, and the most spectacular meat is best appreciated with salt, pepper, and smoke. I'm still there for ribs; for butt and brisket I stop at the local Mexican grocer to buy an assortment of dried chiles, and make up a rub.

I do like Chinese and Japanese barbecue sauces, and we've been experimenting with Char Siu Bao and Ramen, where barbecue meats could find a shining role. This will be a summer exploration.

Until we were canceled by the pandemic, I've cooked a barbecue lunch each summer for Laurie's Greek church. Four pork butts or so, cole slaw, several pounds of Rancho Gordo beans as a pot beans side. We serve barbecue sandwiches that need to appeal to a diverse crowd (when the Eritreans contribute to a pot luck I always finish the red sauce left on their platter with whatever injera bread is left), so a mainstream sauce is mandatory. My favorites (in this category) are from Smoke & Spice. The attached PDF is my wall sheet for big batches of their Bour-BQ-Sauce for the church lunches. It's scaled to bourbon bottle sizes.

At many commercial BBQ places, including in KC, the sauce (with much more bite than the above recipe) was my favorite thing.

Bour-BQ-Sauce.png.3f1b5d52ca8a70d10f23dd8a7ef2e81b.png

Bour-BQ-Sauce.pdf

Edited by Syzygies
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